5.00am An early alarm call for a busy main day of conference ahead! Quick breakfast before the 30-minute drive from my home in Cardiff to Celtic Manor.
6.15am Arrive at Celtic Manor and check emails.
6.30am Meet the conference’s production team . Give them access to our biggest conference room, the Caernarfon Suite, to begin their set-up.
7.20am Check the breakfast provision for the crew.
8.00am Pre-conference meeting with the client event organiser. As event manager, I’ll lead the run-through of the entire conference day with contributions from our operations team. We go through the function sheets, menus, rooming lists, agendas, meeting room set-ups and any special requests, consulting with the client on any changes required.
8:30am Return to office or use Convention Centre office to make the adjustments from pre-conference meeting. Update function sheets and distribute to relevant teams. Follow-up phone calls to ensure updates have been received. Ensure chefs have any updates on menus, dietary requirements and catering numbers.
9.00am Attend the Morning Meeting where I present the event to the resort’s directors and senior managers. I detail the full agenda for the day and highlight any changes and key timings so the teams are all fully aware of what is happening.
9.15am Go to lobby to ensure check-in registration is progressing smoothly. Help manage queues with Front of House teams.
9.30am Walk-through check of all areas and rooms being used by the conference. Check all set-ups match the client requirements and that our highest standards are maintained throughout.
conference session starts in Caernarfon Suite. Check with event organiser that
everything is to their satisfaction. Regular checks of this kind on hourly basis
breather of the day! With delegates in conference, chance to check voicemails
and emails, and make a few calls regarding my next event.
10.50am Check refreshment stations are
ready for first tea and coffee break.
refreshments run smoothly, directing delegates to alternative stations where
necessary. As it’s usually only a 15-minute break we have to turn around a lot
of drinks quickly.
11.15am Return to office to do more
planning for future events.
lunch stations and ensure every single food item matches the menu. Check all
details of the lunch provision including presentation, labelling and serving
lunch being served. We normally open one station at a time to assist queue flow
and replenishing of food.
syndicate rooms which will be used for breakout meetings in the afternoon. This might be the time when we’re sprung a big change like changing a room set-up from theatre to cabaret style and we’ll have to work quickly to bring in tables and switch things. The Conference and Banqueting team are very good at dealing with these late amends.
announcements will be made calling delegates to their breakout sessions. I’ll
act as point of contact for anyone who needs information.
sessions commence. Another office catch-up for me.
2.30pm Conference afternoon
break, which is normally more time-pressed than the morning. Often we do grab
and go drinks in paper cups so delegates can get straight to next breakout
with concierge that guests’ luggage drops are completed.
back in Caernarfon Suite for closing session. Return to lobby to check room key collection for delegates is set up and ready.
ends and delegates arrive at lobby to collect keys for a designated Key
Collection Desk. Assist with queue management.
time of day for our teams, transforming Caernarfon Suite from conference
theatre into gala dinner ballroom. It’s something we do a lot so everyone is
well drilled but it’s still frantic with less than two hours to make the
change. Porters bring the tables in and cover chairs.
and banqueting teams lay the tables, working with outside contractors who bring
in and set the centrepieces.
goes in. Liaise with DJ who arrives and sets up.
staff prepare for drinks reception and lay out table drinks in the Caernarfon
with client for any late changes to table plan and dietary requirements. We can
print new table plans right up to the last minute if necessary - and often have
to kitchen to check chef has the latest information and everything is on
drinks reception in bar areas outside Caernarfon Suite. Typically means tray
serving of champagne or sparkling wine, bottled beer and soft drinks.
call to dinner. Open room for guests to be seated.
call to dinner. Welcome speeches.
can be the most challenging part of the evening, especially for our chefs!
Welcome speeches are usually planned to last 10 minutes at the start of dinner but
often take double that time. If they really go over, we sometimes have to warn
the client that the quality of the food could suffer because the serving times
have to be fairly rigid when you’re delivering a dinner for several hundred
guests. If it’s an awards dinner with separate breaks for awards between all
courses, the problem can escalate! Once again, though, it’s a variable our teams are
used to dealing with.
are served. Check with event organiser throughout meal that everything meets
expectations. Or hopefully exceeds them!
ends. After a final check with the client organiser, this is usually the point
where I can leave and handover the late night revelry to the supervision of the
floor manager and our Conference and Banqueting team. If there’s a special
post-dinner event like a themed space in the Exhibition Hall, I would check
that is up and running smoothly before I go.
Chance to get home and grab a few hours’ sleep before another early start for
the final day of conference.